Cayman’s seniors reflect

Turner Rankine

When it comes to knowing the Cayman turtle industry 84-year-old Turner Rankine is the man. Born in 1923 in the district of East End, Mr. Turner left Cayman for the high seas at an early age to catch turtles. In those times turtles caught were brought to Cayman then shipped to Tampa and England for sale. When his turtle days ended, Mr. Rankine joined the many other Caymanians shipping out on National Bulk Carrier. His wife Marjorie of 59 years was left at home to look after the children. When the company started to employ fewer seamen Mr. Rankine returned home to work on his plantation; growing crops such as bottlers, plantain, bananas, cassava, yams, corn, sweet potatoes and watermelon. He also worked at the Cayman Islands High School for 23 years until he retired in 1972. Today, Mr. Turner and his wife enjoy a much easier life. Mr. Turner still looks after his plantation and makes some of the best coconut oil in East End.

Sybil Jackson

Sybil Jackson, 83, did not grow up in East End but her contributions to the district have been many. Born in February 1925 in the District of George Town to Teddy and Lula Harris, Ms Jackson attended the little school house on Harbour Street taught by the late Clifton Hunter and Thomas Hill. Her first job was as a waitress at the Galleon Beach Club. She also worked for the Merren’s and First Federal American Insurance Company as her husband’s secretary. After they moved back to East End they opened a variety store and for the next 21 years served the community of East End. It was during that time that her husband Percival Jackson started recording the history of these islands with the help of his wife. Ms Jackson married Percival Jackson and when he left to go to sea she returned to her district George Town. She later moved back to East End when he returned. During her years in George Town Ms Jackson attend Church of God Chapel. When she got married she became a member of the Seventh Day Adventist. She has served as a choir member and secretary for the missionary society. She loves to cook and bake.

Corinne Yvon Conolly

She spent her young days like other Caymanian ladies twisting rope. Her siblings went inland to cut silver thatch while Ms Conolly helped in the home. To carry the groceries home, she tied two thatch leaves together to make a basket. Her first paying job was at a store in East End. After that she worked at the Little Liquor Store on the George Town waterfront. After four years of service she moved to the Botanic Gardens toll booth from which she retired after it was damaged by Hurricane Ivan. She is 87.

Alodia Bodden

Ms Bodden grew up twisting rope for a living.

The 85-year-old twisted thatch stands and plaited while her mother made baskets and brooms. The rope was then exchanged for flour, sugar and soap or anything that was available. Sometimes if she was lucky she received four, half pennies for her hard work. She remembers taking her smoke pan and a piece of cloth to ward of the angry mobs of mosquitoes on her travels to collect firewood and thatch tops. As the years rolled by, Ms Bodden found herself working for Rose Parsons at her variety store in George Town.